Denton and Reddish MP, Andrew Gwynne, has called on the Chancellor to use this week’s Budget to reverse the deeply unfair and damaging cuts to Universal Credit that were introduced by his predecessor.
Research conducted by the retail, manufacturing and services’ sector union, Usdaw, reveals that an average couple with children, both working in retail or the services sector, earning just above the so-called ‘National Living Wage’, one working full-time and one part-time, would be £1,866 worse off on Universal Credit.
A worker on Universal Credit earning the National Living Wage of £7.20 an hour, takes home just £7.24 for doing an additional 4 hour shift. That amounts to £1.81 per hour, often barely covering their travel costs.
Andrew Gwynne revealed that a growing number constituents have reported problems with the controversial replacement for six benefits – Income Support, Jobseekers’ Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance (both income-based), Child and Working Tax Credits and Housing Benefit, with the MP who represents Audenshaw, Denton, Dukinfield, Haughton Green, the Heaton’s and Reddish confirming that more than 30 per cent of his casework cases now centre on the controversial scheme.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“I’m worried that Universal Credit will plunge far more working families into poverty. Labour supported the initial intentions of Universal Credit, to simplify benefits and improve incentives to work. However, severe cost cutting has turned Universal Credit into a real threat to the incomes of low-paid working families.
“This week the Chancellor has the chance to hit the reset button and restore the original purpose of Universal Credit, to encourage entry to and progression in work. Currently, after the clawback, tax and national insurance, workers are only taking home 25% of their additional earnings, that’s not fair for families working several jobs to make ends meet.
“The Government needs to look afresh at what Universal Credit means in practice for low and middle income earners and get this troubled project back on track to support not penalise working families.”